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Market data update: October preliminary heavy-duty truck orders flat

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Preliminary data is in for the month of October: ACT Research Co. reports that 32,400 net orders were booked for Classes 5-8 in the month (18,400 units for medium-duty, and 13,900 for heavy-duty), while FTR reports the heavy-duty order number at 13,800.

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“NA Classes 5-7 orders at 18,400 units, were down 10% from September and 18% compared to year-ago October orders,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “The month’s 13,900 [heavy-duty] net order reflects lingering overcapacity from too many Class 8 tractors being purchased relative to freight creation in 2015 and into early 2016.”

According to FTR, the reported heavy-duty net order number for the month was negatively impacted by a significant cleanup of long-term, excess, orders by one OEM. With this backlog adjustment factored out, net orders would have been closer to approximately 21,300 units, much above industry expectations and would have been the best monthly order activity since December 2015. The reported 13,800 unit net number was similar to September totals and brings the past twelve months of orders to 188,000 units.

“The adjusted number of 21,300 was fueled by the big fleets placing their requirement orders for the first half of 2017,” said Don Ake, FTR’s vice president of commercial vehicles. “This indicates the freight markets are stabilizing and the fleets are confident enough to replace older trucks. FTR expects medium-sized and smaller fleets to wait until after the election to place most of their initial 2017 orders. Once that uncertainty has been lifted, it should help the equipment markets and the general economy. Monthly orders will likely hover around the 20,000 unit mark in November and December.”

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